Inqueeries

By Milton Wendland
© Diversity Rules Magazine 2012.  All Rights Reserved.
www.diversityrulesmagazine.com

Wendland PhotoMilton Wendland is a licensed attorney and a professor of Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies at the University of Kansas, where he teaches courses in LGBT cultures, sexuality and law, and queer theory.

Dear Inqueeries: We are going on vacation but had never stopped to think before that we could stay at a gay or lesbian hotel. How do you find out about these places? Are they all just party places? Craig & Daniel

I personally prefer to stay at lesbian and gay guest houses and resorts because I meet so many interesting people from around the world, and I’m assured that my “lifestyle” will be celebrated while I’m supporting LGBT-friendly businesses.

LGBT travel is a huge international market that offers something for almost every LGBT traveler, from five-star ritzy to budget-conscious, from back-to-nature camping to a full-on party, from small guesthouses to large resorts.

The trick is to make sure the option you choose fits your personality and vacation needs. For example, some resorts like the world-famous Island House in Key West are vacation destinations in themselves, offering all the amenities of the best hotels, including a full restaurant and bar, heated pool, top-line toiletries, and concierge service but all within a men-only, clothing-optional, and “frisky” atmosphere. Other places like the Painted Lady in San Antonio are guesthouses in the more traditional sense – an historic property with well-appointed rooms, offering morning breakfast and hosts who can help you navigate the city.
 
The best way to learn about the huge number of options is via the internet, Facebook, and word of mouth. Almost every destination has a website dedicated to LGBT businesses and accommodations, which you can find by using Google. In addition, check out funmaps.com, purpleroofs.com, and gayplaces2stay.com. I recommend contacting the guesthouse directly if you have specific needs or concerns.

Dear Inqueeries: Some of my friends say they have gay-dar that can tell if a person is gay or lesbian. Is that true? Shelley

There is no proven inherent biological or mental ability to determine a person’s sexual orientation with certainty, although some studies have suggested that gaydar is a socially-developed skill. Generally when people use “gaydar” they are relying on a variety of different stereotypic visual and auditory cues – gender cues, clothing, voice pitch, mannerisms, hairstyle, etc – that are then presumed to be indicators of sexual orientation.

For instance your “gaydar” may go off when you see a woman with a crew cut and a masculine walk but that’s not firm indication that the woman is a lesbian. It is only indication that you are seeing a woman with a crew cut and a “masculine” walk, two characteristics which may, but do not always, correlate with sexual orientation. But of course for every lesbian that “gaydar” does correctly identify there are many, many lesbians who fail to cause a blip on the gaydar because they do not fit stereotypical notions of what a “lesbian” is. In other words, “gaydar” can perpetuate (sometimes negative and harmful) stereotypes like “gay men are effeminate” or “lesbians are butch.”

“Inqueeries” is an interactive column where readers are encouraged to submit questions for Milton to answer!
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